For those who don't know, Downtown Vegas is the home of Zappo's CEO Tony Hsieh's efforts to create an entirely new kind of "office park". Instead of a staid office park surrounding by not much (which is how you might describe Zappo's previous home in a suburban area outside Las Vegas), Hsieh flipped the script and took over the old Las Vegas City Hall after the City left, bringing in nearly 2,000 employees to the area. Not only that, but he also backed an effort, known as "The Downtown Project" with $350 million of his own dollars. What has been done so far is still in its nascent stages, but the outcomes are many. The difference with this effort and other downtown revitalization efforts with which I am familiar is that it is less focused on physical improvements. Instead, the effort is starting with entrepreneurs - they have sought out multiple business owners with the passion, energy and creative drive to make a go of something interesting and unique. The three efforts that I was most impressed with were Container Park (a shopping/civic center for start up bus, the Market (a small specialty grocery store) and the Oasis, a hip motel that cashes in on the Las Vegas retro vibe. See pics below. For more on Hsieh's efforts and the Downtown Project, check out this Freakonomics Podcast ("Could the next Brooklyn be Las Vegas?"). Well worth the listen.
|The entrance to the Container Park - a shopping/civic/entertainment |
space that aims to offer budding entrepreneurs a place to test their business concepts.
|The interior of the block includes a great play space for kids|
|Shipping containers = spaces for small businesses|
|Restaurants have also set up shop|
|Local residents no longer have to travel far for the basics. The Market is a Downtown Project |
supported effort that provides an important amenity for a growing residential population.
|The Market is heavy on prepared foods for the busy Zappo's employee|
|The Oasis at Gold Spike offers high class, but low priced, accommodations.|
|The swimming pool is a welcome reprieve from the Las Vegas sun.|